Monday, August 24, 2015

My Favorite Simple Grilled Tuna Steaks


I have a few favorite methods of seasoning tuna for grilling. Several come from my beloved  chef Pierre Franey's classic book Cuisine Rapide. One version uses grated ginger, paprika, cumin and lemon juice.  Another with thyme, garlic, lemon juice and rind is drizzled with melted butter and the marinade. 

All go well with a simple tomato and herb salad. 

However, my favorite is the simplest of all, presented here. 

Grilled Tuna Steaks
     4 tuna steaks, 1 inch thick. Approx. 2.5 pounds
     8 Fresh thyme sprigs
     1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
     Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
     Olive oil

     1. Sprinkle both sides of tuna with salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Drizzle olive oil over steaks.
     2. Press thyme sprigs onto steaks. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temp for 15-20 minutes. 
     3. Grill over high heat for 2 minutes per side, leaving thyme sprigs on the steaks.
     4. Slice thinly and serve wth tomato salad or a vinaigrette for dipping. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Classic Cabbage Slaw - Cole Slaw

My grandparents owned a deli on Long Island in the late 1940's or early 50's I think. Grandma's potato salad was a classic and loved by customers and our family alike. The two keys to that recipe were sliced potatoes, I rarely see that anymore, and a healthy dose of celery salt. So I grew up loving that taste. 

This classic slaw draws on the celery theme, using both celery and celery seed. 

I find it important to slice the cabbages by hand, using a large chef's knife.  This results in slightly larger slices of cabbage than in most slaws, creating a little more firmness and crunch. 

Also, the use of mayo and sour cream is a great combination, here and in chicken and potato salads.  

Serves a medium sized crowd

2 celery stalks, chopped in 3 pieces
1 apple, preferably Granny Smith
1 yellow bell pepper
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar (not seasoned) 
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (I rarely use these powdered ingredients, but they work here and are essential for my Red Beans and Rice) 
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 head green cabbage
1/2 head purple cabbage
2 carrots,shredded

1. Chop the celery, pepper and apple in a food processor to create a finely chopped mix. 
2. Combine all the dry ingredients and vegetables in a small bowl. Allow them to sit for 10 to 15
3. Add the mayo and sour cream to the small bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour. 
4. Cut the green cabbage into 1/8's then slice thinly by hand. However, the cabbage shreds should be larger than you normally see. Cut half the purple cabbage in the same manner. 
5. Dress the cabbages and carrot with two-thirds of the dressing.  And more to your taste. As with nearly all slaws, it's better after a few hours or the next day. 

The vegetable purée - a key step that makes this slaw unique. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Short Rib Ragu - Perfect Cold Weather Comfort


This is one of the best dishes I've made in the past year or two, possibly the very best in terms of flavor. I've served it over small pasta shapes, but it is likely best over polenta, either loose or grilled in cakes. It is very rich, so stretches to more servings than one would expect.


What makes this recipe so good?  Anything with short ribs is pretty darn good.  This recipe creates several distinct rich flavors - meat, vegetable, wine, herb - which all present themselves in the final dish.


Cooking tip: Scrape down the sides of your Dutch oven or roasting pan during and at the end of cooking.  The browned coating on the edges is super concentrated flavor that can be returned to the cooking liquid.



   1/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms

   3 pounds beef short ribs

   1 cup onion, chopped

   1 large stalk celery, chopped

   2 carrots, chopped

   3 medium garlic cloves, sliced

   2 anchovies

   2 T tomato paste

   1 large sprig rosemary (or 1 T dried)

   4 sprigs thyme (or 1 t dry)

   2 cups full bodied red wine (Cabernet or a blend)

   2 T soy sauce

   1 fresh bay leaf (or two dried)

   2 cups imported San Marzano tomatoes with sauce     

   3 cups beef stock

         - or 1 cup veal stock plus water



   Dutch oven, or large oven proof pot



  • Soak mushrooms in 2 cups boiling water
  • Salt and pepper ribs, brown in batches, remove
  • Sweat onion, celery, carrot, garlic, anchovies, tomato paste,  fresh thyme
  • Add wine and soy reduce to half
  • Return ribs to pot, add bay leaf, mushrooms and soaking liquid (avoid gritty bits at bottom)
  • Add tomatoes, stock and water to barely cover ribs
  • 350 oven, covered, 3 hours
  • Scrape down sides of pot several times while cooking
  • Remove ribs, blend veg and sauce with a stick blender. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Separate rib meat from bones and shred. Return to sauce.



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Easy Roasted Sausage Peppers and Tomatoes

This is a favorite 3 ingredient dish. Just add herbs - any mix will do. 

Add 2 lbs Italian sausage, 2 or 3 red and yellow peppers cut into 1-2 inch pieces and 3 or 4 containers of cherry tomatoes  to a large roasting pan. Liberally douse with olive oil, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Toss in 2 sprigs each of thyme and rosemary along with 1 bay leaf and 3 large garlic cloves. 

Roast this mess at 375 for about 45 minutes. If you remember, stir the ingredients around once or twice while cooking. You'll end up with a sweet-savory mix that is great on pasta. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Crispy Skinned Salmon + lightly Creamed Leek and Cabbage

Great technique on the salmon from this Food52 pairing (  Scraping moisture from fish skin with the blade of a chef's knife is a technique Thomas Keller mentions in The French Laundry Cookbook. Along with using high heat, this is a foolproof way to cook meaty fishes. 

The. cabbage dish is one that even cabbage-averse eaters will enjoy. Technique is again a key to make this dish work. Add the cabbage to the pan of bacon and leek in three successive batches to have a blend of soft, medium and slightly crispy textures.

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